Leaving AA

A while ago a client sat across the table from us and said, somewhat suspiciously, “You don’t do 12 Steps, you do 3! Get a grip. Get a life. Get outta here.”

She was pretty much right.

What do we mean by “get a grip?” Mostly you need to grasp the realities of your current situation and your real options. That means dumping the myths and hogwash that pass for 98% of alcohol “treatment.”

Grip the facts instead:

  • You can change your drinking behaviors;
  • You don’t need lifelong “recovery” (which is more apt to send you back to the bottle than keep you away from it);
  • You do deserve some decent help at a reasonable price (but that’s not what you’ll find at 12 Step based treatment programs);
  • You can manage it privately, confidentially, and permanently.

“Get a life?” Pretty much follows after the first. Substitute active long term benefits for alcohol’s passive short term ones and you won’t be tempted to go back to drinking very often. Even when you’re tempted it’ll be fairly easy to resist.

If you do lapse (no, we don’t use the loaded term “relapse”) you’ll see it as a learning opportunity, not a disaster, or an excuse to go back to drinking. As we noted to a physician client recently, don’t confuse a behavioral pimple with melanoma.

Getting a life means creating activities to replace alcohol, boredom, loneliness, anxiety, and whatever else you’re currently self-medicating. Instead:

  • Join a gym and actually go regularly and keep track of your progress;
  • Learn a new language;
  • Learn something else you’ve always wanted to learn how to do (Dance? Golf? Bridge? Car restoration?)

And, “Get outta here!” We don’t want you coming back, except to visit occasionally over lunch or dinner. We expect you to quickly out grow your need for our help. Recovered, NOT “in recovery.”

That really makes us different – almost all other programs are designed to maximize the chance that you will, in their terms, “relapse” (their first requirement, for example, is that you agree you are “powerless” – which is also the best predictor of relapsing) and that will supposedly justify round after round of ever more expensive treatment.

But that’s the “powerless” and “disease” model, which is after all, a marketing model – and a con game – not an actual treatment model.

We, on the other hand, believe you want to be cured, not mined for cash then dumped onto AA which, when it does work for someone, is free and voluntary.

What do you want and need?